William “Smokey” Robinson encouraged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which he said required him to stay in the hospital for 11 days.

Robinson, 81, who founded the Motown singing group The Miracles in 1955, told ET in a recent interview about his harrowing encounter with the virus, which he said worried him about ever singing again.

Of the time he spent in the hospital, Robinson said he can’t remember “four or five of those days.”

“I’m very happy to share [my story] because I hope it helps someone,” Robinson said. “COVID just comes on and people ask me today, who knew I had it… where did you get it, how did you get it? I do not know. I have no idea how I got it. All I know is I looked up and I had it.”

AJ McLean, Smokey Robinson, Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds and Charlie Wilson perform onstage at the 25th Annual Keep Memory Alive 'Power of Love Gala' benefit for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at Resorts World Las Vegas on 16 October 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive)

AJ McLean, Smokey Robinson, Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds and Charlie Wilson perform onstage at the 25th Annual Keep Memory Alive ‘Power of Love Gala’ benefit for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at Resorts World Las Vegas on 16 October 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive)

“It was something terrible and as I went through it, I wasn’t really thinking ‘Hey man, maybe you’ll never get out of this hospital alive,’” Robinson continued. “I didn’t think like that. I just thought about… [how] I have to get myself together.”

In this image, released on November 29, Smokey Robinson attends the 2020 Soul Train Awards presented by BET.

In this image, released on November 29, Smokey Robinson attends the 2020 Soul Train Awards presented by BET.
(Photo by Leon Bennett/STA 2020)

Robinson also urged his listeners on the importance of maintaining protocols to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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Charlie Wilson, Anthony Anderson and Smokey Robinson attend the 25th Annual Keep Memory Alive 'Power of Love Gala' benefit for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at Resorts World Las Vegas on October 16, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive)

Charlie Wilson, Anthony Anderson and Smokey Robinson attend the 25th Annual Keep Memory Alive ‘Power of Love Gala’ benefit for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at Resorts World Las Vegas on October 16, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive)

“Protect yourself and those you love because it is a real killer and it is terrible to have to go on,” he continued. “Some people go through it lightly, but you’re talking to someone who’s been through it hard. So when you’re going through it like that, it’s a very difficult health issue to overcome… [if it weren’t] by the grace of God I wouldn’t be here to talk to you and I’m sure of that.”



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